Ex-president Barack Obama has iterated how important it is for men to be feminists and why International Women’s Day is so important.
He penned a letter in Glamour magazine on his birthday last year praising the progress that has been made so far, but explaining how we need to ‘keep changing’ attitudes.
Barack Obama explained how the most important people in his life have been women, and how that has taught him the level of respect he wants his daughters to expect from all men.
The progress we’ve made in the past 100 years, 50 years, and, yes, even the past eight years has made life significantly better for my daughters than it was for my grandmothers, and I say that not just as President but also as a feminist.
We need to keep changing the attitude that permits the routine harassment of women, whether they’re walking down the street or daring to go online.
We need to keep changing the attitude that teaches men to feel threatened by the presence and success of women. We need to keep changing the attitude that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatizes full-time dads, and penalizes working mothers.
— Glamour (@glamourmag) August 4, 2016
Though he said the progress shouldn’t be ‘down played’, Obama explained what needs to change:
We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive, that criticizes our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear. We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.
We need to keep changing the attitude that values being confident, competitive, and ambitious in the workplace—unless you’re a woman. Then you’re being too bossy, and suddenly the very qualities you thought were necessary for success end up holding you back.
He ended his letter by stating that 21st Century feminism is about ‘the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free’.
The old POTUS made the point that the task of equality has in no way been reached, and that it is ‘absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too’.